What Former Computer Science Students Say
While still in school, many Carroll computer science students have the opportunity to work part-time in state government, at local high-tech firms as programmers or as network support specialists. Some students have on-campus technical support jobs, while still others volunteer with non-profit organizations.
There are also frequent summer opportunities in research around the country as well as paid internships in business and government.
In their own words (what former students say):
My experiences as a Carroll College intern and my studies have gotten me to where I am today. Carroll is a challenging school but when you graduate you are ready for any type of job opportunity that comes your way. I'm very grateful for deciding to attend Carroll.
-- Alysa Eaton (Programmer Analyst/Webmaster, Montana Legislative Services)
Before I went to Carroll I knew nothing about programming, let alone Software Engineering. With skills acquired solely from Carroll's CS department, I was able to land an internship, and make a career out of it before graduation. The most critical learning, for me, happened after class during office hours; you always seemed to have time for questions outside of class.
The variety of programming languages and platforms you taught made it easy to pick up new technologies/concepts later; i.e. it conditioned me well for meta-learning. Taking projects from start to finish has proven to be most valuable in my career -- like the old database class, where we single-handedly designed and built a database application.
-- James Arasim (Microsoft software testing engineer for Windows)
With the large outsourcing endeavors in today's marketplace, trying to be just a programmer is difficult and Carroll College's forethought in this requirement ensures that Carroll alumni bring more to the table in today's job market. Furthermore, the CS faculty is as intelligent as they are forgiving and understanding. I made some mistakes in my time at Carroll and if it hadn't been for the support of the Carroll Community -- specifically the CS and other department staff -- I would not be where I am today. Carroll College offered me a chance to focus on my interests and then gave me the freedom to expand my knowledge and become even more enthusiastic in realizing my future.
--Jon Tomsu (Manager, Public Services, Bearing Point, Manhattan, New York)
Overall, I think that the Carroll CS/math department really prepared me well for the graduate work I'm doing now (PhD in Math and Masters in CS). After being a TA at a large university, I realize now how unique it is to be able to work so closely with professors like we do at Carroll. At Carroll, I always felt more like I was part of a CS/math "community" than a "department." That's something that I'm finding not a lot of schools can offer.
-- Ted Wendt (Ph.D. student at the University of Iowa)
I learned one of my most important lessons in college from Mr. Hagen. I stopped by before class one day to mention that I needed to skip his class, because I was behind in another class and really needed to finish up some work. I had somehow gained the impression that he would understand and commiserate with my predicament. This was not so. Mr. Hagen was not amused. He stared into my eyes and said something to the effect of "Why is it my problem that you are behind? I show up every day no matter what. Why can't you?" Those were not his exact words, of course, but you get the impression. It really opened my eyes to the fact that I'm responsible for my own work, and that a sob story won't cut it. It was Real World lesson right there in his office. Really stuck with the whole "Not just for school, but for life" credo of Carroll's.
-- Karl Frey, Stormwater360
I remember one of Steve's classes where we would go through code line by line to determine what it did. I have done so much of that trying to determine what code does exactly when I am trying to make changes or find a bug in the program. It is difficult at times when you are looking at someone else's code and even worse sometimes when you are reviewing your own. This is especially true of some of the stuff I wrote several years ago that is too complex for words (a sorting routine that kit-bashes several different sorting routines together, it is a mix of about 3 in all). I am actually getting much better about documenting than I use to be. It is amazing how something that was so crystal clear to you when you wrote it looks like gibberish 2 years later. . . The thing that was helpful . . . is that I knew what tools were usually available in a language and only had to teach myself the syntax. I have also written several very complex programs that we are currently selling.
--Jennifer (O'Brien) Jasper (Lead Programmer for Computer Fencing, Software Design Associates)
Carroll College did an awesome job preparing me for my positions at EDS and Zoot. My skills and understanding of developing web application are greatly respected among my peers.
--Steve Eaton (Java/Web Systems Developer, Zoot Enterprise)
With my Japanese language proficiency and what I learned in Carroll I got hired last fall, and now I am in Tokyo, Japan as a system engineer. I don't know I can say this is success but I am really enjoying what I am doing here... I can't still forget your helpful advice each time we finished some project. Thank you very much again. --Kyoung-Jin Kim (System Engineer, Carrot Tokyoto, Tokyo)
At this point in my career, I've been in some great positions because of my degrees from Carroll (English and CS). I began as technical writer for Fred Meyer, where my easy familiarity with complex systems, stemming from my experience at Carroll, helped me immensely. From there I went into Localization Coordination (software string and collateral translation) at Hewlett-Packard Corp. I also did some technical writing there. Next came Intel Corp, where I contracted for a year as a technical writer and then a project manager. Now, my title is Technical Writer and MarCom Specialist at a company called Stormwater360 (formally known as Stormwater Management, Inc.) a progressive, innovative company with a mission to preserve and protect water resources worldwide.
My Carroll education has helped me a lot at my current job. When I started, I was responsible for the planning, purchasing, layout, and effectiveness of all the advertising for the company. You can see our ads in Civil Engineering, Waterworld, Water & Wastes Digest, Stormwater magazine, and a host of others. We needed some way to track all the customer response from the 'bingo cards' that are in most of the magazines. That way we could ascertain ROI. So, we used Access and built a database to track all the information. Harper's 400 level database class came in very useful here, and I found all the relationship (many to many, one to one, one to many) training coming back, along with the mantra drilled into us to plan the all the relationships and tables BEFORE we started coding. Boy, did that help. We ran into all sorts of questions we hadn't even thought of yet, which helped us flesh out the true usage and plan for the future use. I routinely use reports from the database to justify spending to my boss.
I have the ability to understand quickly where a glitch is coming from, because I've been educated on what's happening in the background of the computer's guts. If fact, I've been the go-to guy in all my jobs for this kind of thing, and I have Carroll, its teachers, and its computer labs to thank for that.
Mr. Harper, Mr. Rose, and Mr. Hagen all have had a lasting effect on my career; my time at Carroll College was very well spent. And welcome to Dave Marshall - you've chose a great place.
-- Karl Frey, Stormwater360
Any college is what you make of it. If you go to class and make the grade you come out in four years (traditional) with a degree. This degree illustrates that one is capable of: following instructions, performing a certain level of work and focused on one area or expertise. However, when a student has the desire to learn and excel and the proper environment is available, you come out with more than a degree. You gain friendships. You develop you breadth of knowledge. You become a member of a community whose goal it is to make your better and help you find your dreams and achieve your goals. Unfortunately, not many colleges provide this community and experience.
I came to Carroll with the goal of becoming an oral and maxillofacial surgeon. That is a lot to want when you're 18 and you really need a drive to attain that. I lacked the motivation and desire to pursue the required studies to attain that goal. The whole time I should have been studying or attending class for Zoology or General Psych I was in the computer lab just messing around. That first year when I almost failed was because I had so much fun messing with computers. Trying to figure out why certain outcomes happened when I would mess around with different settings was awesome. I cannot count the endless hours I spent in the computer lab. The Carroll Community gave me tools, resources and mentors to achieve my goals.
The basic structure of the Carroll CS Program enforced the real-world necessity of communication by requiring classes like small group communication, technical writing and basic communication. Additionally, the Program required a selection of a minor. This requirement emphasizes that Carroll College understands the increased importance to remain current in today's business and economy.
I never forget the Bilbo Baggins examples in CS 101 from Phil (I knew nothing of The Hobbit), the personal stress associated with pick your grade in Steve's project class, or the first time I sat in on a lecture by Darrell even before I joined Carroll. The degree from Carroll is comparable to a CS degree obtained from most other liberal arts colleges, but the relationships formed with the professors, the freedom to pursue what interests you and the structure of the degree program itself - are often incomparable. Success stories? I started working in 1999 as a consultant at a salary that I thought was very good. In 6 years I make six figures and work in New York City for one of the largest system integrator and consulting shops in the world. But, like I said, it is what you make of it.
--Jon Tomsu (Manager, Public Services, Bearing Point, Manhattan, New York)